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What is Grinding and Clenching?

Grinding and clenching…. sound like the newest dance craze? Unfortunately, these two oral habits are responsible for the highest amount of tooth loss throughout life. What’s more, these words are often commonly associated with the three most dreaded letters in dentistry, “TMJ”.

Grinding is usually associated with sleep time. While our bodies shut down and refresh, we routinely dream. As you might imagine, some of these dreams can be quite stressful. Grinding involves squeezing the mouth muscles like you are biting into food and then sliding the teeth from side to side. Often very loud and obvious to those who are awake, this process causes premature wear of teeth that are touching. Jaw joint stress from this action can also lead to pain and loud joint noises. Although short periods of grinding are inconsequential, longer periods can lead to loss of the outside and inside layer of tooth structure as well as prolonged joint symptoms.

Clenching commonly occurs during waking hours. Described as strong biting without food in the mouth, the habit contributes to the above symptoms. As this falls under conscious behavior, clenching is thought to be easier to control.

Treatment for both includes focusing on both the cause and result. As stress is a primary factor, stress relief treatments are important. The dentist also plays a large role in helping to manage these habits. Worn teeth sometimes need to be restored and “bite guard” appliances can be fabricated to protect the remaining tooth structure during susceptible times.

Call us to set up your complimentary consultation and take the next step towards the smile that you’ve always dreamt of. Our friendly team is waiting to answer any of your questions and start you on a path to a great smile. Call us today or click below to schedule a consultation. We can’t wait to meet you!

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Six Benefits of Dental Implants

Having a great smile is one of the best attributes anyone can possess. Flashing those pearly whites is seen as an indication of a warm personality and can instantly attract others. A beautiful smile builds confidence and is a key factor in retaining good health in other areas of the body.
As we age, tooth deterioration often becomes a major factor in the search options for restorative treatment. If this is the case for you, you’re not alone. Many adults have lost some or all of their teeth to a variety of causes, including tooth decay, gum disease, or accidents. Dental implants are the trusted way to experience life with intact teeth again. You’ll find that at Westover Family Dentistry, we can help you on the journey to recoup the beautiful smile that’s so much a part of who you are.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are small artificial tooth roots that are placed under your gums, just like real teeth. Implants are not the only way to replace missing teeth; bridges and dentures are other alternatives. Our doctors can create the best treatment plan based on your individual needs.

What Are The Six Benefits Of Dental Implants?

1) Durability: Dental implants, if cared for properly, can often last a lifetime. Of course, good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are important.

2) Appearance: The only person who will know about your decision to have dental implants is you. Implants are made to look and feel just like your natural teeth. As a result, your self-image will remain positive since dental implants are virtually undetectable.

3) Convenience: There is no fuss over removable dentures. With dental implants, you don’t have to worry that they might slip out of position because the framework is permanent. In addition, you won’t have to deal with any messy glue that helps hold removable dentures in place.

4) Improved Speech: If you wear dentures, you no longer need to worry about slipping teeth that might cause you to slur your words.

5) Improved Self-Image: Dental implants help restore your youthful appearance and help you feel better about yourself.

6) Improved Oral Health: Unlike tooth-supported bridges, dental implants don’t involve any anchoring to your surrounding teeth. Keeping the other teeth intact makes cleaning easier, which enhances your oral health.

For more information on the benefits of dental implants and how you can take the first step towards achieving your new smile, click below! Our doctors can’t wait to meet you!
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Childhood Oral Hygiene and The Role Parents Play

The foundation for healthy teeth is established during the first years of life. Making healthy food choices, brushing well, and visiting the dentist for regular checkups are all practices that will help prevent issues with your little one’s tiny teeth now, and ensure the development of strong and healthy permanent teeth.
Parents serve as role models for this behavior– children learn best through imitation. However, involvement in your child’s oral health is also key during the early years, when dexterity is still developing.

Here are some tips for parents of young children, to help keep your littles’ oral health on the right track:

  • As soon as the first teeth show up, parents should begin brushing them. Use a pea-sized amount of children’s non-fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Brush your child’s teeth yourself twice per day (if you can!) until about age 2. At this point, you can switch to a small amount of regular toothpaste. When they start wanting to brush themselves, encourage them but re-brush the hard-to-clean areas.
  • At age 6, children are usually able to brush their teeth well on their own. In this phase, parents should continue supervising regular brushing efforts and should do so up until around age 12 when the second molars come in.

At Westover Family Dentistry, we provide comprehensive care for adults as well as children. My team and I are highly trained and implement the highest level of technology in the dental field. We focus on the overall health of our patients, and how dental health plays into it.

Our friendly staff looks forward to meeting you. Contact us today!

Click here to schedule an appointment!

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Dentistry is Really About Total Body Health, Not Just Teeth

Dental health is not only about pretty pearly whites. While the focus in our practice is on tooth, jaw, and mouth, at Westover Family Dentistry we also know that dental care is important for total body wellness.

Chewing, speech, and self-confidence all start with a healthy set of teeth. Like a fountain, the health of your teeth can trickle down to affect the rest of your body functions like digestion, breathing, and even their little hearts.

Regular dental checkups are essential to a healthy lifestyle because at Westover Family Dentistry we know how to spot problems early on and treat them quickly to prevent more serious complications down the road. Read on for some ways that dental care can affect the rest of your child’s body and maintain their overall health.

Reduce the Risk of Infections

Proper mouth care and reducing plaque on your teeth can mean fewer bodily infections. Our mouths can harbor some really seedy stuff like bacteria, yeasts and viruses that hang around our teeth. Without proper dental care like regular brushing and flossing, your gums can become inflamed and bleed, offering germs an open route to enter your body to cause a host of other problems like heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and even pneumonia or other respiratory illnesses. Taking care of your gums may feel unnecessary but your gums need the same level of care as your teeth.

Chewing and Digestion

“Chew your food!” Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not being an overprotective parent. Eating a healthy diet is a great first step to ensuring your health and what you eat needs to be properly broken down. Healthy teeth and good chewing habits contribute to good digestion and help the body absorb the nutrients in your food better. Proper chewing also prevents bloating and other gastrointestinal problems.

Memory Function and Alzheimer’s

Believe it or not, gingivitis has been linked to a person’s level of cognitive function. Yes, studies have shown that gingivitis AKA gum disease – inflammation, bleeding, and tenderness of your gums – can affect how adults perform on memory and cognitive skill tests. A recent study demonstrated a link between the bacteria that causes gum disease with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Just another reason why starting healthy habits, like flossing, early will help keep you and your family healthy.

Tongue Tie Solutions

Ankyloglossia or tongue-tie is when your tongue movement is restricted by a little band of tissue at the tip of the tongue attached to the base of the mouth. This can affect breastfeeding for infants and speech later on in life. If left untreated, older children and adults can find it difficult to clear bits of food from teeth, contributing to tooth decay and gum disease. Dr. Westover is experienced with resolving tongue tie issues through a laser procedure (frenectomy) done in-office. It’s a simple procedure and can make a huge difference with your child’s health and self-confidence. In more good news, the laser frenectomy procedure doesn’t need sutures, a scalpel, and sometimes not even a needle. And if you’re a stressed new mama reading this, please come see us – we can help!

At Westover Family Dentistry, we strongly believe in total body health and it starts with healthy habits contributing to a healthy and happy smile. We are a caring and friendly office with a great reputation (just read our reviews!) in the area. If you care about your child’s overall health like we do, we hope you’ll bring your little one in for a visit. Whether they’ve just sprouted their first tooth or they have some wiggly ones, we look forward to meeting your child.

Click here to schedule an appointment today!

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Westover Family Dentistry Welcomes Dr. Bryant Ash

To our valued patients:

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Bryant Ash has joined the Westover Family Dentistry team! Dr. Ash is a warm, engaging, and highly skilled dentist who is a truly wonderful fit for our practice.

As you can imagine, we take great care when inviting a new team member to join us. We have a longstanding reputation of providing the highest quality dental treatment to the greater Winchester community, and draw deep satisfaction from the personal relationships we have with our patients. These are values that Dr. Ash maintains as well, along with his dedication to providing a positive experience to each of his patients throughout their treatment. 

In speaking with his team, they expressed some wonderful sentiments about him, including that he is great at explaining treatment to patients, he is excellent with children, and he focuses on continuing personal and professional improvement. All of these are qualities that we value ourselves.

Dr. Ash graduated from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry as a recipient of two distinguished scholarships after graduating from Brigham Young University. He is a member of the Virginia Dental Association, the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. He underwent extra training in the applications of 3D printing technology in dentistry, including virtual implant treatment planning and placement. He’s trained in oral sedation and Advanced Care Life Support/CPR as well.

With Dr. Ash joining our team we will increase appointment availability and benefit from additional perspectives as we develop our patients’ treatment plans. We are confident that Dr. Ash will bring new ideas, energy and insight, which will be appreciated by everyone who meets him. We look forward to introducing him to you! 

Kind regards,

Dr. Austin Westover and Dr. Mitra Westover


ZOOM your way to a Brighter Whiter Smile For the Holidays at Westover Family Dentistry

A recent survey showed that 80% of Americans aged 18-49 wish they had whiter teeth and that 6 out of 10 people believe that having whiter teeth would make them more confident.  That is just one of the reasons why we are so excited to offer in-office whitening as a way for our patients to achieve a brighter, whiter smile… up to 8 shades whiter in just one visit!
This advanced whitening treatment is perfect for those who need a quick whitening fix! Whether it’s in time for your holiday party, photo-shoot, a family wedding or school reunion. 
Using our advanced, in-office whitening technology, we apply both a whitening gel and specially designed light to your teeth. The blue LED lamp works to activate the gel, breaking down the hydrogen peroxide so that the oxygen can enter your enamel and dentin. This bleaches any stains while leaving the structure of your tooth unchanged and undamaged! 
Both! Your professional whitening session happens in our office, with a dentist. This session combines the power of our LED light with a high concentration, professional strength whitening gel that can only be applied by a dental professional. 
Then, we send you home with a maintenance kit, complete with custom bleaching trays and bleach material, to ensure a long lasting, bright smile. 
We recommend a dental cleaning prior to beginning treatment in order to achieve the best results. Once the cleaning is complete, your whitening session should take about an hour! In fact, our products are  clinically proven to whiten your teeth up to 8 shades in just 45 minutes! 
At Westover Family Dentistry, we’re always up-to-date on the latest advances in research and the newest technologies to be sure we can accommodate each of our patients’ unique needs. 
Click below to schedule your ZOOM appointment today and smile brighter this holiday season!